Have you been told that you drink too much coffee? Don’t let the naysayers get you down, because there’s good news to support your love of the drink: A new study showed that coffee consumption — no matter which kind you drink — is linked to a decrease risk of liver disease.
Coffee has already gotten high praise for its ability to boost your metabolism, prevent diabetes, and help you live longer, but researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom wanted to see how everybody’s favorite drink affected liver health. Pulling UK Biobank health data from almost half a million participants over a 10-year period, they discovered that people who consumed coffee every day — no matter if it was caffeinated versus decaffeinated, or freshly ground versus instant — lowered their risk of liver disease by an average of 21 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers. Moreover, they slashed their risk of death from liver disease by 49 percent. Scientists say that they saw the greatest benefit from people who drank three to four cups of coffee per day, even if that was all decaf. No jittery caffeine high or terrible crash necessary.
Why did they see such big results? Researchers say that the compounds in coffee lessen inflammation in the organ, especially during the early stages of liver disease, while also slowing the scarring process that comes as the condition advances. It also decreases aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in the body, which are two enzymes that the organ secretes when it’s damaged.
Researchers say they need to do more work looking into coffee’s interactions with the liver, but it’s promising news nonetheless. The next time someone makes a comment about you drinking so much coffee, just tell them you’re doing it for your health!